Dental Crowns & Bridges
Dental crowns and bridges are very common procedures performed in the dental office. Their general purpose is to restore a tooth or teeth back to full chewing function.
WHAT IS A CROWN?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth -- to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations.
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down.
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left.
- To hold a dental bridge in place.
- To cover misshapened or severely discolored teeth.
- To cover a dental implant.
- To make a cosmetic modificationn.
What is a dental Bridge?
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap -- these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth -- and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
- Restore your smile.
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak.
- Maintain the shape of your face.
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth.
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
There are three main types of dental bridges:
A)Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
B) Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common any more and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
C) Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
Dental bridges can last five to 15 years and even longer. With good oral hygiene and regular checkups, it is not unusual for the life span of a fixed bridge to be over 10 years.
It is important to keep remaining teeth healthy and strong as the success of the bridge (depending on the type selected) depends on the solid foundation offered by the surrounding teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing and using an antiseptic mouthwash daily help prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and floss teeth. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule will help diagnose problems at an early stage when treatment has a better prognosis. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important.